From Brigg area to frozen wilderness for charity sledge trek pulled by Siberian huskies
FOR most people, turning 60 is a landmark occasion.
But not many of us would use the date as an opportunity to drive a team of Siberian huskies across the freezing wilderness of Lapland.
However, Paul Robertson will do exactly that when he travels 250km on a sled pulled by up to eight dogs on a charity trek.
It might sound barking mad – but the animal lover, who owns 16 huskies, is gearing up for the challenge of a lifetime.
Paul said he was relishing the thought of the expedition, which will begin less than three weeks after his 60th birthday.
He said: "I have known a few people who have done it before and I am coming up to this funny age – so I said I would give it a go.
"I can't do it later on, so I will do it now.
"It is a six-day trek to go with six to eight huskies and, overall, it is about 250km over the five days.
"It is spread out and you go from point-to-point each day and camp out in tents.
"There are two in a tent but you have to sort out all of the dogs first.
"You have to feed them, put all of the bedding out for them and make sure they are secure before you even put the tent up."
Paul, who lives in the Brigg area, is set to fly out to Tromso in Norway on Saturday, April 13, to begin the six-day adventure.
From there, he will battle temperatures plunging down to minus 25C, as well as wild camping and ensuring the dogs are looked after.
The trail will end at the ice hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden.
Paul, who works as a gas engineer, said he would be one of around 12 people from across the country taking part in the organised trek.
And he said he thought the weather would be one of the biggest challenges.
He said: "You can expect anything.
"You could have a clear day one day and a blizzard the next.
"Anything can happen and you have got to be prepared for everything really.
"The main thing is you have got to look after the dogs and if you fall off the sled, never let it go."
Although he is stepping into the unknown with the challenge, Paul is no stranger to huskies.
The 16 he and his wife Linda own are kept primarily as pets, although they also work and show them.
But he said he was expecting a completely new experience in Lapland.
He said: "I run with my dogs in England and Scotland but never in anything like the conditions we are going out to."
Paul said his preparation for the trek had involved fitness work, mainly so his legs can cope with the deep snow.
He has chosen the Birmingham-based Acorns Children's Hospice as the charity to benefit from his adventure.
He said: "It is a children's hospice. People have told me about it and it is a good cause.
"I haven't put a target on it and it is just whatever I can raise."
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Paulshuskytrek